Why do I do these lists? Many people have asked me why, and I guess my main reason is that it gives me a reason to scour the internet and look for the newest wargames out there. It is exciting to see what is new and upcoming. To see how designers are taking chances and taking the gaming of historical conflicts in new and interesting directions. Without doing this list, I don’t think that I would be very aware of new games. I am guessing on this, but I also am not sure that you would be as aware either. I feel like the Wargame Watch is great for us all as it challenges us and makes us consider the games that are out there and what we want to play. That is what I think anyway!
This month, I feel like the list just came to together without much effort on my part. There were just great games that were announced or that are on Kickstarter. All told, I put 9 games on the list, which include two Kickstarters that are actually coming to an end soon (so hurry if you are interested!). Before you go off on me, I know that one of the games isn’t a traditional wargame, but it just looks so interesting to me that I had to include it on the list.
If you missed last month’s list, here is a link: March 2019 Wargame Watch
1. Caesar: Rome vs. Gaul, Gallic Wars 57-52 BC from GMT Games
Caesar: Rome vs. Gaul is a fast-playing, easy-to-learn, two-player card-driven game on Caesar’s conquest of Gaul. One player plays Caesar as he attempts to gain wealth and fame in Gallia at the expense of the Gauls. The other player controls all the independent tribes of Gaul as they slowly awake to the peril of Roman conquest.
Caesar: Rome vs. Gaul uses many of the core rules and systems used in Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. Players are dealt 7 cards at the start of each turn and use their cards to move their armies and place control markers. Players familiar with Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage will quickly learn this game.The game covers the height of the Gallic Wars, the period between 57 BC and 52 BC when Caesar campaigned back and forth across Gaul putting down one rebellion after another and invading Germania and Britannia. Units are individual Roman Legions or Gallic Tribes. Each turn represents one year.
- Gallic Spring Muster
- Roman Winter Attrition
- Fortified Towns
- Invasions of Germania and Britannia
The map also is a thing of beauty and deserves to be placed in a frame and hung in a conspicuous place in my game room.
If you are interested in Caesar: Rome vs. Gaul, Gallic Wars 57-52 BC, you can pre-order a copy for $42.00 on the GMT Games’ website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-755-caesar-rome-vs-gaul.aspx
2. Banish the Snakes: A Cooperative Game of St. Patrick in Ireland from GMT Games
We love cooperative games here at The Players’ Aid, with one caveat, they must be good cooperative games that are a challenge and are not too easily won! Gene has been hinting at a cooperative game for a few months now in the Upcoming P500 Segment and this month has finally realized that promise. At first glance, Banish the Snakes looks very interesting and has some really interesting mechanics that are sure to be a joy to play.
From the game page we read the following:
Banish the Snakes is a cooperative game that simulates Ireland in the 5th century, while the Roman Empire was collapsing in the west and Ireland was turning to the Christian religion. Players represent Saints Patrick and others (up to six of you) who set out to convert the pagans on the island. You must work as a team to convert the people of Ireland before the barbarians completely overwhelm Britain – if you fail, the Irish will not be able to save Civilization in the following centuries!
As I look at the game, it appears to use some really interesting card assisted elements that decide how you go about your business of changing the minds of the Pagans and influence them to join the Christian movement. So, a game with indirect conflict and overcoming influence. Sounds to me like a lot of the games that I personally love that use cards to influence areas such as Twilight Struggle and Washington’s War and that delves into the religious side of history like Here I Stand.
The game board to the right is a map of Ireland in the 5th century, with four Provinces-the same as today – but no counties yet formed. Wooden tiles represent the People, Druids, Chiefs, and Kings, and of course the High King at Tara. It is the players goal to invade the interrelated influences between these groups of people and get your new ideas accepted.
I also see at the very bottom of the board (not included in this picture) is a schematic type of diagram of Great Britain which is used to keep track of the steady decline of Roman civilization in Great Britain and the continual assault on the country by barbarian invaders. As different parts of Britain succumb to the barbarians, more and more difficult challenges are added to the deck of cards, until finally Britain is completely overwhelmed, cutting off Ireland from the continent and ending the game.
The game also uses Event Cards to drive the action. Each turn a card is drawn, throwing new challenges at the group working to convert the populace. The severity of the event is determined by the previous card, and so no two games can ever play the same. The cards introduce events and ideas of the time, new saints, and historic figures such as Neil of the Nine Hostages.
Here is a look at some of the event cards that are posted over on the forum at Consimworld:
If you are interested in Banish the Snakes, you can pre-order a copy for $41.00 on the GMT Games’ website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-752-banish-the-snakes.aspx
3. Freedom! from Phalanx Now on Kickstarter
I have said this before, but I really love it when designers and publishers take a chance on a little known topic and conflict. If you have watched our YouTube Channel at all over the past few weeks, you will have most likely seen our preview video for the Freedom! Kickstarter campaign from Phalanx. Freedom! is a Card Driven Game that takes a look at the Ottoman siege of the Greek Holy City of Messolonghi in 1824. One player takes the role of the Ottomans while the other plays the defenders.
One of the things that I really enjoyed about the game is that it takes a look at the military side of the siege as well as the political side. This is accomplished by the use of two maps. From the BGG entry we read:
The battle takes place in two maps: one showing the actual city and the forces involved in the siege, and one with the surrounding areas, highlighting the support that each of them provides to both players.
I really enjoyed having to worry about both of the aspects equally. You cannot solely focus on one and expect to win. The defenders really need to worry about controlling the surrounding countryside because they need access to resupply and food as well as reinforcements. The Imperial player can really do some damage by trying to get control of the seas surrounding the city and bringing the fight to two fronts. The game also is asymmetrical and each side has different abilities.
This game features asymmetrical play. The goal of the invading forces is to manage to get inside the city before the end of the game or force the citizens to abandon the cause by dropping their morale to zero. The defenders, on the other hand, try to withstand the siege and protect the city long enough for the invaders to abandon their attempt either by deciding to leave on their own or by having their morale dropped to zero. The actions of the players are driven by the cards in their hands, which highlight actual events and personalities of that time, while the combat is dice-driven to allow for quick and exciting game-play.
If you are interested in Freedom! you can learn more from the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/phalanxgames/freedom-4
As of the posting of this, the campaign has been funded with 498 backers committing $26,836 toward the $26,073 goal. The campaign will end on Wednesday, April 10th at 11:59 PM EDT.
4. Milito: The Ancient Warfare Card Game from PSC ￼Games Now on Kickstarter
Another game that we have taken a look at an advance prototype copy and done a video for their Kickstarter campaign is Milito: The Ancient Warfare Card Game from PSC Games.
Milito is a reimagining of the classic game Field of Glory but takes that basic system and adds customized and unique decks representing different ancient cultures such as the Imperial Romans, Carthaginians and Alexandrian Macedonians to name just a few. The game is a card-based, diceless wargame designed by Martin Wallace, which puts the players at the head of an Ancient army, requiring them to make the key tactical decisions that will win or lose the battle. Commanding a combination of troops unique to your own army you’ll play unit cards to take control of the battlefield. From the BGG entry we read the following:
Skirmish with light troops to hold the enemy at bay, use your cavalry’s maneuverability to your advantage, and advance your units of well-armoured infantry to drive the enemy away. Flank attacks and army-specific leaders provide further tactical depth. Choose the right moment to commit your best units into the battle line and capture three terrain areas to win the game.
The game is really very simple mechanically but will require many plays to master the proper tactics for each of the different cultures. Each culture is asymmetric in their unit compositions and abilities. Some of the cultures, such as the Celts, are challenging to play well and will require a completely different approach to victory than any other culture.
Each card in your hand represents one of your army’s units, which has the same strengths and weaknesses as its historical counterpart. Units are rated for speed, attack strength, defence strength, and other modifiers based on battlefield performance. Leader cards offer combat bonuses and have their own unique abilities – but be warned that not every leader card is an Alexander or Hannibal!
We really had a good time with this game and enjoyed trying to perfect the different strategies of each different army. There is a good amount of replayability in this game and it also has unlimited potential for expansion with new armies and different units for existing armies. For anyone that likes quick playing strategically deep card games, this one should be an auto-buy.
If you are interested in Milito, you can learn more from the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1992455033/martin-wallaces-milito-game
As of the posting of this, the campaign has been funded with 499 backers committing $14,120 toward the $2,607 goal. The campaign will end on Friday, April 12th at 8:00 AM EDT.
5. Cradle of Civilization (Sumeria to Persia and Alexander vs. Darius) from Compass Games￼
Cradle of Civilization is actually a pair of games in one box that allows one to six players to play out battles for the domination and control of the ancient near east. In one game civilizations rise, while in the second, players battle over whether the great Persian Empire will survive or perish. I like the look of both of these games as they use simple mechanics to make them quick-playing and accessible and to focus on a period feel to allow the players to experience the theme of warfare in this period. Plus, you get two games in one box, which to me is a real value.
Sumeria to Persia is about the Bronze and Iron Age, when civilization was born and city states evolved into kingdoms and finally to large empires, culminating in the Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great. Players of History of the World will recognize the base mechanics whereby players randomly select civilizations from cards, although the player in last place has more power to decide which civilization they will play.
Sumeria to Persia is for two to six players and offers more options than previous games on the subject. Civilizations that survive can continue to expand in future turns. Random events create possibilities that defy history but were in the realm of possibility. The Minoans may have a brilliant military commander and the Egyptians could become a seafaring empire. There are also rules for constructing wonders, the placement of cities, and the general effects of the Bronze Age collapse. Lastly, the Persian Empire does appear, although any player choosing them must hand out victory points to their opponents.
Alexander vs. Darius: The Fall of the Persian Empire is a two-player game that simulates Alexander III’s conquest of the great Persian Empire. Sometimes portrayed as a foregone conclusion, this game argues that Persia certainly had a chance to win if they had used different strategies or had some luck on the battlefield. Darius III need not have been Persia’s last king.
The heart of Alexander vs. Darius is a war weariness track, which moves down steadily for Alexander’s army. Historically, it did not reach zero until after his invasion of India, but a Persian battlefield victory could have changed that. The game also allows players to explore Memnon’s strategy of using Persian naval supremacy to raid Alexander’s rear as well as exploring the possibilities of the Spartan rebellion. Lastly, the Persians themselves must worry about legitimacy, and therefore must be active in resisting Alexander, or risk losing their grip on the throne.
Since playing Genesis from GMT Games last fall, I have become more keenly interested in the Ancients and this game looks to be a very interesting take on the genre. Not to mention that it is two games in one!
If you are interested in Cradle of Civilization, you can pre-order a copy for $59.00 from the Compass Games’ website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/cradle-of-civilization.html
6. Rifles in the Pacific from Tiny Battle Publishing
Last year, we played and really enjoyed Rifles in the Ardennes, which is a solo game that focuses on a group of soldiers moving through an abstracted terrain toward their goals, whether that be a firefight or controlling a building. Rifles in the Pacific is the second of Gottardo Zancani’s solitaire Rifle Series. Rifles in the Pacific recreates the action that characterized the Pacific Theater in World War II in a unique single-player format. The game doesn’t use a traditional hex and counter map typical of World War II games but instead uses three beautiful, yet abstracted maps, representing the Pacific Theater and allowing for endless battlefield customization.
There isn’t a lot of info out there on the game yet as it is a pre-order but here is a bit of a descriptive paragraph on the system from the game page on the Tiny Battle Publishing website:
A simple solitaire system recreates small firefights (five to ten units per side) over a bevy of scenarios, including beach assaults, riverbank defense, random jungle patrols, raids on AA Gun emplacements and radio stations, and a campaign linking the missions together. Blind chit draws and die rolls, combined with artfully crafted charts create an impressive “artificial intelligence,” imbuing the game with true fog of war.
If you are interested in Rifles in the Pacific, you can pre-order a copy for $29.00 from the Tiny Battle Publishing website at the following link: https://tinybattlepublishing.com/products/rifles-in-the-pacific
1. Strategy & Tactics Magazine Issue #316 – The Campaigns of 1777 from Strategy & Tactics Press
A few years ago, I did one of our Designer Interviews on the blog with Harold Buchanan where we discussed his new game at the time Liberty or Death but we also talked a bit about another Revolutionary War game he was working on called Campaigns of 1777. When we attended Origins Game Fair last year in Columbus, Ohio, we also got a first hand look at the map and counters for this game and were really blown away with their quality. The map was absolutely gorgeous and the counters were also very well done…and for a magazine game we were both very surprised. From the game page on the S&T website we read the following on the game itself:
The Campaigns of 1777 is a two-player, point to point wargame in which you command the Patriots or the British in the northern Colonies during 1777, the critical year in the American War for Independence. The tone for the British was set by leaders like Howe, Burgoyne, Cornwallis and Clinton while the Patriots marched with leaders like Washington, Greene, Arnold, Schuyler and Gates. The Battles fought in the northern Colonies include the Sieges of Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Stanwix, the battles of Brandywine, Germantown and Saratoga as well as the surrender of Burgoyne’s army at Saratoga. The objective of the British player is to control certain spaces in order to fulfill their Victory Conditions. The Patriot player’s objective is simply to prevent the British Victory. One inch on the map represents about 20 miles. Each Strength Point represents an under strength regiment of roughly 300 to 500 men. Each game turn represents one to three weeks.
If you are interested in The Campaigns of 1777, you can pre-order a copy for $39.99 from the Strategy & Tactics Press website at the following link: http://shop.strategyandtacticspress.com/mobile/Product.aspx?id=38633
2. Tango Down – Man to Man Urban Combat from Tiny Battle Publishing
I love unique games and this is one that tries to tackle a more up close and personal perspective for modern house clearing operations. The game page has the following information on the game:
Tango Down is a tense game of modern house-clearing operations, with scenarios taken from both the headlines and the movies. Hostage rescue, daring escapes, desperate last stands, ticking time bombs and more! Each player controls one or more fire teams, with each member having a counter and specific stats, augmented by Action cards that cover the fog of war, special tactics and event timing. Leaders, marksmen, fanatics, barricades, assault shields, breaching charges and more.
Kevin Sharp over at The Big Board has done some very interesting component pictures as well as a play through video that you might want to check out.
If you are interested in Tango Down you can order a copy for $29.00 from the Tiny Battle Publishing website at the following link: https://tinybattlepublishing.com/products/tango-down
3. Warfighter The WWII Pacific Combat Card Game from DVG
Somehow we have missed the Warfighter experience and have never played either the Modern version of World War II Europe version. But, when the Pacific version came out I was able to get my hands on a copy and many I sure am glad that I did. We have only had the game for two weeks and I have played 6 cooperative games with Alexander and 2 solo games.
What is so good about the game and how does it play? Warfighter is a card game for 1 to 6 players. You can either play cooperatively with your friends up to 6 against the system or solo to complete World War II squad-level combat missions. The core game gives you a full team of US Marines and a full set of Japanese Hostiles. Each Expansion then adds to these sets and there are a lot of expansions that are available. This includes the soldiers, weapons, equipment, and tactics used by each of those nations. Everything you need to create your own unique squad of soldiers!
From the Kickstarter page we get the following rundown on the game system:
At the start of each mission, you each select one or more Player Soldiers, equip them with skills, weapons, and combat gear within the mission’s Resource limit. You then fight your way through hostile territory and engage enemy soldiers, as you attempt to reach and complete your mission objective. Every mission is a stand-alone game. You build your Soldiers, select your Gear, and then run your mission. Within 30 to 60 minutes you will have succeeded or failed.
Warfighter uses a new combat system that takes into account the fire mode you select for your weapon, range to the target, running out of ammo, suppression fire, and cover – all in the same dice roll!
This system creates an incredibly deep narrative with every attack. As you eliminate soldiers, you gain experience to Upgun your Action cards, play Support cards, and activate special Skills.
We have really enjoyed this game and actually just got our hands on a copy of Warfighter WWII which uses the same system but covers action in the European Theater of Operations. This game is slick, well designed and fun. But it is very challenging. Each mission can be different each time you play based on what location cards you draw and what Japanese enemies are drawn.
If you are interested in Warfighter Pacific you can order a copy for $59.99 from the DVG website at the following link: https://www.mcssl.com/store/danverssengames/warfighter-pacific-core-game
Thanks for sticking with me through another Wargame Watch. I would have liked to have added a few other games to the list, such as New Release Hearts and Minds from Compass Games and The Dark Valley Deluxe Edition from GMT Games, but I’ve only got so much time and limited real estate. Please let me know what games I’m missing and we will see you back here on May 1st.
I’ve already backed Freedom and Milito. 🙂 Excellent list, my friend.
1859 High Tide of the Second Empire: a DTP by Fog of War, should be out in April or so.
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